"They [settlements] don't help the process", Trump said in an interview published Friday by the Israel Hayom newspaper, an outlet owned by major GOP donor Sheldon Adleson that backs the country's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Bishop William Shomali, Patriachal Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the Holy City and Palestine has strongly condemned the law passed yesterday in the Israeli parliament, which "legalised" houses and Israeli settlements built illegally on Palestinian territory illegally occupied by the army of Israel.
Taken at face value, Trump's comments would appear to be a blow to Israel's right, which had been pushing Netanyahu to double down on a recent surge of pro-settlement moves, including the approval of 6,000 new housing units and a highly controversial legalisation bill aimed at regularising illegal outposts on the West Bank.
Separately, Trump confirmed he was rethinking his stated goal of moving the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "No one wants to make this decision, and I'm thinking about it seriously". So many people think it can not be made.
Netanyahu's hawkish coalition is emboldened after Trump has signaled a softer approach to the settlement issue. "I understand Israel and respect Israel", Trump said. And a lot of smart people around me claim that you can't reach an agreement. "But we are looking at all different kinds of options", Trump said.
During his campaign, Trump had promised to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move the Israelis warmly welcome and which the Palestinians, and the Jordanians, have warned against. I'm sure it will finally happen after so many years. "I want to see peace happen".
"I am not someone who believes that advancing settlements is good for peace". And I don't want to be condemning Israel. "I want both sides to act reasonably, and we have a good chance at that", Trump said.
ISIS, known to be active in the Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, said that they had fired a barrage of Grad rockets, Haaretz reported.
Regarding the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the president said his vision was for a peace deal for the entire Middle East, not one limited exclusively to the two sides.
On the presidential campaign trail, Trump said that Israel should continue its construction of settlements, which the majority of the worldwide community considers to be illegal under global law.